Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS

Priced: $179.95 Rated:   - 4 stars out of 5 by 31 reviews.
Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS
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Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS -

With a powerful new high-sensitivity receiver, compass, altimeter and a smaller design than its predecessor, the wrist-top Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS is ideal for hands-free navigation.

Imported.

Fabric:

  • The Garmin Foretrex 401GPS features waterproof construction, rated IPX7 to withstand immersion in 1m of water for up to 30 min.

Logo/Graphics:

  • Navigate 20 reversible routes; stores 500 waypoints with name and graphic symbols, and 10,000 trackpoints

Comfort:

  • Newly updated industrial design offers a smaller, lighter unit than previous models for increased comfort and mobility

Features:

  • High-contrast 64 x 100 pixel screen with bright LED backlight for use in low light; dual-position display allows convenient horizontal or vertical viewing
  • 2 AAA batteries (sold separately) typically provide up to 15 hours of use
  • View route and follow it back with Garmin's exclusive TracBack® feature
  • The Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS is compatible with Garmin heart rate monitors and GSC 10 Speed and Cadence Sensor (sold separately)
  • Trip computer calculates current, average and maximum speed; plus, it tracks trip time and calculates distance
  • Easy, single-handed operational system features 5 ergonomically situated buttons that intuitively guide you through functions
  • High-sensitivity receiver delivers fast signal acquisition and lock for reception in narrow valleys, dense tree cover and urban jungles
  • Built-in electronic compass and barometric altimeter provide additional navigational aid
  • For the mariner, sail race feature allows you to configure the start countdown sequence with audible alerts at each start phase
  • Computer-compatible design allows you to load waypoints and routes directly from your computer via USB
  • Enjoy effortless sharing of waypoints, tracks and routes between Garmin GPS units with ANT wireless communication function
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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
15
6
3
5
2
Activity:Hiking
Altimeter:Pressure-based
Average battery life:15 hours
Basemap:No
Batteries:2 AAA
Camera:No
Color screen:No
Compass:Yes
Dimensions:2.9 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches
Display size:1.4 x 0.92 inches
Expandable memory:No
Internal memory:Unavailable
Number of routes:20
Number of waypoints:500
OS compatibility:Windows / Mac
Preloaded geocaches:No
Preloaded map:None
Screen Pixels:64 x 100
Touch screen:No
Visual map display:No
Weight:2.26 ounces
Wireless communication:Yes
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Garmin

Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

My Favorite GPS System

I have been using the Garmin Foretrex 401 extensively over the course of three years, primarily for hiking and backpacking. It has endured years of dirt, sweat, water, and mud, and it keeps on working. See the attached photo of me using the Foretrex during a Zombie obstacle course mud run. It survived. I did not. And neither did my HTC phone I forgot in my pocket. :-)

It has finally begun to show some minor signs of rust near the battery terminals, most likely due to moisture introduced by me changing out batteries with sweaty hands, etc. However, if and when it does fail, I will buy it again without any hesitation.

My primary purchase decision points were weatherproofness, durablility, size, weight, and the fact I could wear it on my wrist. It has been with me on so many adventures, and it has not let me down. In fact, this device has helped me out of some really tough jams.

Like any GPS technology, there is a learning curve. But that's really just the nature of orienteering. The device itself is actually pretty simple, but you really do need to understand how to use the tool before putting yourself in any tough situation. I would advise anyone to take a GPS navigational class. I did not, and it took me a while to really figure things out. Lots of reading and experimentation.

You do not get any topographic views like larger units, but I always carry maps, and suppliment them with my GPS. If I have reliable track data from a trusted source, I install them before my trip so I can navigate efficiently. But often times, I end up just creating my own desired paths and waypoints, and it's always a ton of fun reaching destinations with the help of my Foretrex.

Even if I go on last minute trips without preloaded tracks, I am confident that I can always find my way back. As soon as I turn it on, I typically calibrate the compass, clear any previous track and trip data, and create a brand new waypoint of my starting position. The device will keep an accurate log of where I've been, and I just add waypoints for each point of interest and trail intersection along the way. When I am ready to return, I use the track back feature which gives me pretty accurate ETA info.

Where I find it lacking is the rather short number of characters I can use in the names of saved waypoints and tracks. The number of saved tracks is also fairly limited. The most frustrating limitation that plagues so many of Garmin devices I've researched is the number of track points, or breadcrumbs, that you can import in a single track. It's only about 500 trackpoints! If you try to import a saved track that has more than that, it truncates the entire track, so you must first simplify the track data before the import to avoid that problem. Irritating, but again, this is not a problem isolated to the Garmin Foretrex 401.

I highly recommend this unit. Have fun and be safe!
GM Outdoors at REI on 12/12/2013

Great, versatile little gadget

I have had this device since January 2011 now and it has been a blast to have and use. I started using it for downhill & backcountry skiing. Was able to finally see just how fast I go. 76mph so far and I'm shooting for 80mph this season! Not believing that reading was accurate, I turned it on in my vehicle and compared it to my speedometer, as well as the GPS in my vehicle. Dead on accurate, and faster to adjust to my changing speed than the GPS in my vehicle. It's a blast to upload the map info and see where I skied laid over a Google Earth map. I did the same thing with mtn biking this summer. It's also a great little tool for when I hike 14ers here in Colorado. This thing is so diverse that I go almost nowhere without it. The biggest issue I've had is with Garmin's online website called "GarminConnect". That site has been a pain constantly. It's not easy to find a link to it from other pages on Garmin's web site. The instructions there are not very clear, and the default settings will really screw up your data from the ForeTrex. I've compared the data on my ForeTrex to other sources and it is actually more accurate than the tranlated info you will see on GarminConnect. My advice is don't use the GarminConnect info as factual. It's probably close, but certainly not reliable. On frustration on the ForeTrex itself is that I haven't been able to figure out how to stop tracking and start a new one without turning the unit of then back on again. The manual information is not easily (for me) understood. It must have been written by engineers who often assume everybody else knows what they know already.

Also someone commented that it doesn't work well with WinVista. I have Vista Home Premium (64-bit) and that has not been an issue at all. I can't speak to Win 7, but really what does work well with Windows? Even Internet Explorer crashes constantly, but I digress...

I love my ForeTrex and use it constantly. My buddies laughed at me for having this "gadget" initially. Now they're always asking me what it reads for speed, distance, elevation, etc. Then I send them the uploaded data on Google Earth and we have a blast pouring over the routes.

I've used Garmin's support by Email a couple times. Pretty lame actually. They lose interest or forget they were working with you or something. Next time I'll try the 800 phone number and see if that's better.
PowderBud at REI on 10/10/2011

Does what is stated

I use this daily for cycle training and for hiking. I've read some comment about slow to catch Sat. signal but mine grabs 6 in around 90 seconds from power-up and I live near tall buildings and tons of trees.
Con:maps? According to the description of what the unit provides "maps" is NOT one of them.
GPS waas battery life is triple the life of my other expensive GPS units. I just use common copper-top AAA's which I trickle recharge 2 times each.
Compass works ok and if you can move 2 meters the GPS picks up any slack in direction finding.
Altimeter is more than accurate enough for training and accurate enough for navigation unless you're surveying a new train route through the Himalayas.
Sunrise/Sunset is handy to keep you legal in the field and on city streets.
Barometer is handy for cross country planning or huddled in the snow wondering if it's blowing over or more is coming in.
You can also upload routes to the watch using 3rd party free software with just a few simple clicks of the mouse.
Garmin Connect is a must to pinpoint your weaknesses and customize your training to target them or to just visually track your progress in general.
Rain proof. I use this approx. 300 days a year, rain, snow and blazing sun.
The screen is slightly recessed which protects it.
The only thing I wish was a couple button pushes less is the "reset trip data". Other than that I really like this unit and for the $ it's a heck of a deal.
Adam Walker at REI on 07/07/2013

streamlined, light, functional

The toughest thing about this gps is figuring out what it does and how. The manual is just a few pages. First, I believe it to be the lightest gps on the market. It can display your coordinates in any format you choose. You can manually enter waypoints if you know the coordinates (taken from a map) or set a waypoint at your current location. You can navigate to any waypoint from your current location. The gps unit will give you your current distance from your destination, and using the electronic compass, point you in the right direction. If you turn the compass off, then you must be moving inorder for the 'gps compass' to work. The interesting difference between the electronic and gps compass is the the electronic compass knows which direction the unit is pointed whereas the 'gps compass' only knows which direction the unit is moving. You'll see the difference in the field. The point is, if you turn on your gps and want to quickly know which direction to go, you need the electronic compass on. Otherwise you need to have a compass and map handy. Of course you can always, in emergencies, turn on the gps and figure out where you are on a map. Also, takes AAA batteries, same as your headlamp. Perfect to carry around incase of emergencies.
totalc at REI on 06/06/2010

Excellent user GPS, mainly for adv user.

This is an excellent product for the right user. This is a perfect unit for most military operations where a GPS is used to send command current locations as well as giving accurate LAT/LONG to aircraft for support. This is also very good at using as a way to confirm current location on the map. This is not a substitute for navigation aids such as maps, charts or compasses. The jumpmaster function is a good additional tool for the military professional and is used by civilian jumpers wishing to have a way to verify where they are in case of an emergency. I have used this product overseas as well as the 101 model. The newer sensitive receiver is what makes this unit stand out. If you are military you will want the 301 or 401. If you are looking for a GPS incase you get lost this is a good unit for you. If you are looking for a one stop navigation tool this unit is not for you.
Ducati guy at REI on 10/10/2009

Great, Lightweight GPS for Navigation

Probably the best lightweight GPS for serious navigation I've seen. Strapping it to your wrist is very convenient, and the strap attachment is vastly better than the watchband pins on the Foretrex 101 (Previously, my favorite GPS). The altimeter, compass and barometer are nice additions and the 401 locks in on satellites quickly. No one should ever go into the wild without topos, which makes the display features on more expensive GPS units fun to play with but not really essential. I usually turn on the GPS for a few minutes, verify my location, sight the next landmark on my route and shut it off. That saves batteries and allows me to check out the scenery rather than admire the pretty color screen on a larger, heavier GPS unit that costs twice as much. The one improvement I would suggest is a feature that allows users to track barometer readings over time. Can't say how the accessories work with the 401 -- not how I use it.
Brazos57 at REI on 10/10/2009

It's perfect for outrigger competition

I searched for months for a GPS that fit my needs. I paddle for a outrigger club and needed to know our speed on the water, time, sunset, stop watch, compass directions and tracking back to shore. Sometimes out in the ocean a fog blanket would drop and you're in the dark, lost, no idea where you are. I look at my Garmin and follow the tracker back to shore. The compass was an extra but glad I got it. On clear days I can track my destination and return without missing my mark. Not only is it great for outriggering, I use it to travel. Walking in Rome, lost in the small streets, push my button and it tracks me back to my hotel without the frustration and confusion. I haven't used the elevation but maybe I can fit it in someday. All in all, I feel safe out in the water/European city knowing I can get back home/to the hotel.
Polo-outrigger girl at REI on 04/04/2010

One of the Best Compact GPS ever used.

I was issued this product while in the service and it was amazing for its size and durability. It's extremely accurate and has numerous features that can be used for various applications even skydiving (it has a jumpmaster feature I hope to try out sometimes this year). I also use this to keep track of my distance while running in remote areas where gauging distance is difficult. I use it in conjunction with the heart rate monitor which provides a semi accurate reading (gets you in the ballpark which is for what I need). The issues I've had with this GPS is wishing the AAA batteries would last longer I started using this threw a night movement and Im thinking the light on it probably took quite a bit of juice out of it. Overall if your looking for something compact with lots of features and durability this is a pretty good GPS.
thegodfathersman at REI on 06/06/2011

Perfect for my use.

Great light weight unit for dismounted military stuff. Easy to mount on arm or weapon. All I need is something that displays my location. I always carry a map and compass so I don't need a big map display. Only problem was the strap. I removed it and replaced it with one from 215 Gear, then it was perfect. Unit picked up signal while sitting inside an up-armored humvee. Was easy to load track onto Google Earth in order to document routes.

When friends want to borrow a GPS though, I don't give them this one. It isn't for people that only have a casual understanding of land navigation. You should certainly have a paper map and understand how to plot your location using what ever form of coordinates you use.
Geordy7051 at REI on 10/10/2011

Excellent Tiny GPS Unit

The Foretrex 401 strikes me as a marvel of modern technology. Here you can have a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that is small enough to fit on your wrist, but is powered by AAA batteries. While there are no fancy maps or color screens, you get a GPS that is great for basic navigation from Point "A" to Point "B". Excellent unit for recording track logs while exercising, marking spots while hiking, and for augmenting a map & compass. The 401 does have the electronic compass and altimeter -- neat features, although you can turn the electronic compass off to save battery life. Unfortunately, there is no way to display GPS altitude on the 401 (but you can on the Foretrex 301 which has no altimeter.)
Pacific NW at REI on 11/11/2011

Negative Reviews:

Good idea but missing major featrues

For over 4 years I have used a Forerunner 301 with great success. I use it for cycling and sea kayaking for fitness. In conjunction with the Training Center software, all sorts of workouts can be created. Workout data can be recorded downloaded and analyzed. Also alarms can be set to warn user of high or low heart-rate, speed etc and uploaded to the unit along with the workout. For example when I do a recovery ride and I don't want my heart-rate to go above 120 BPM, I set the alarm to keep myself in check.I recently purchased a Foretrex 401 because it seemed to be like the Forerunner 301 and had some useful additional features including:1. Advanced GPS features including track back.2. Compass, altimeter and barometer3. More sensitive GPS receiver.4. User changeable batteries, (very useful for multiday kayak camping trips where recharging the Forerunner 301 is difficult).5. The addition of a Speed/Candace Sensor for cycling (this and the heart-rate sensor made me think the 401 would be very much like the Forerunner 301). I wonder Garmin did not also include the foot pod to record distance & speed on a treadmill for those snowbound indoor runs.Before plunking down for the Foretrex 401 I called Garmin (they haven't responded to any of my e-mail inquires at all, customer service is declining) and was assured that the heart-rate transmitter chest strap from my Forerunner 301 would work on the Foretrex. That would save me $70.00 for an additional heart-rate transmitter chest strap.You guessed it, Garmin told me wrong, the Foretrex 401 does not talk to the Forerunner 301 transmitter (not ANT +??). Also, The 401 will not talk to the Training Center software. This is very disappointing because of the very usable and valuable features of setting alarms and creating workouts that upload to the unit. GPX files can be imported from the Foretrex 401 into Training Center but TCs rich feature set cannot be used.Over the years Garmin has moved away from customer service and their products are far less reliable than the older GPS products they made in the past. My 20 year old 12 XL GPS still works but not my eTrex Vista or my Nuvi 76x. I am seeing that Garmin now makes products that simply die requiring the user to purchase new (supposedly better but often more limited) products. Even though Garmin has poor customer service and does not appear not care much about the quality of its products, REI will always step up and take care of its customers. Additional evidence that Garmin is not responsive to customer needs or product improvement is a feature on the Forerunner 401 called "Spanner" which does not show up in the manual. Spanner allows you to use your GPS 18 USB with most NMEA 0183-compliant mapping programs. It adds a virtual com port interface to your GPS 18 so that you can send NMEA data to other programs.WARNING: Windows Vista and Windows 7 are not supported by the Spanner software. Even though Vista was main stream and Windows 7 was about to be released, Garmin chose to only support the older OS which most people had moved away from.If you feel the Forerunner 401 will suit your needs by all means purchase it from REI and let them deal with Garmin. I would only recommend the Foretrex to those who will accept its limitations and lack of compatibility with other Garmin software and hardware. Also, don't e-mail Garmin call them at 800 800-1020 for customer service, as they do answer the phone.
Old Man Adrift at REI on 04/04/2011

not ready for prime time

One of my Foretrex101s expired a few weeks ago and I decided to replace it with the just released Foretrex401. It arrived mid-week and I had no trouble accessing and opening the Foretrex401 generated gpx file with Easy/ExpertGPS and Topofusion. The 401 appears as a USB drive in Windows. I was hoping to use the 401 along with the Garmin heart rate monitor during my mtbike rides instead of the my Edge205 and separate HRM. The 401 had no trouble picking up the HR reading and displaying the values.Perhaps not surprisingly, the Garmin website has no substantial information of the 401 as of yet and no discussion of what software will work with the 401. When I emailed Garmin concerning data transfer software and the spanner function under the Setup menu, I received the following rather uninformative reply:"Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I am happy to answer your questions. At this point, the Foretrex 401 is only compatible with Garmin MapSource[@], but this information will unfortunately not include your cadence or heart rate information. On the bright side, Garmin Connect, our online fitness website, will support the Garmin Outdoor product line in the second half of 2009. In the meantime, we recommend that you upload activities from those devices to [@]. Unfortunately, there is not much documentation available for Spanner other than the installation instructions found on the download page. . Even though it is now well beyond the "second half of 2009" Garmin Connect does not include the Foretrex 401 and the[@] has essentially been abandoned by Garmin leaving the Foretrex401 in effect unsupported by Garmin except for the most basic data transfer. The Foretrex401 manual makes no mention of the spanner function or what a gpx file is or how to make use of it.At this point the Foretex401 appears to be corporate orphan that no Garmin division is able or willing to support. It is unclear if it is intended for jumping out of airplanes (jumpmaster function), hiking (altimeter/compass), cycling/fitness (HR/cadence) or providing a heads-up when ordinance is going to explode (countdown-up/timer). In addition to the above, function wise, the 401 adds a USB interface, faster satellite acquisition and wireless data transfer to the venerable Foretrex101. It is slightly more compact in size than the 101, has a better strap attachments and stores the data is in a gpx file. Operationally the Foretex401 does what is it supposed to do but with no software included, undocumented functions and virtually non-existent technical support, most purchasers will be frustrated in trying to use the Foretrex401 right out of the box. A printed quick start guide is in the box but the manual in a pdf on the CD.As noted above, with some tinkering and non Garmin software I've been able to list and view the Foretex401 tracks, waypoints, routes and other data as well as transfer the data to GoogleEarth. For what Garmin lists as a basic handheld GPS it should be much more straightforward to operate and transfer data. I'll give it 2 stars until it is better supported.
paleoguy at REI on 09/09/2009

Very poor satellite acquisition time

My primary usage purpose is for the basic land navigation aid and to measure the distance when I jog. My buds recommended the Foretrex, and I read nothing but excellent reviews so I gave a try.
Pros:
• For the navigation part, I'm very happy, it does what it's designed to do. I'm a map & compass kinda guy, but I'm glad to have this unit with me. Makes my life easier for sure and nice back up
• Control is easy to use, out of box simplicity.
• Customization option on the screen display is awesome, I can display what I need and where I want. Awesome.
Cons:
• I'm VERY unhappy with the satellite acquisition time on this unit – it usually takes between 10~20 minutes after I turn on the unit…and I'm standing in the open field with no canopy!! Come on!! And seems the acquisition time is longer when its raining, hello, isn't this an outdoor purpose unit?
• Elevation reading is almost useless and I don't trust at all, even with calibration I am submerged under the earth ½ of the time, great.
• No data expansion, I have to dump track data periodically or I keep getting error message to delete data. Perhaps micro SD port will be nice addition.
My unit's software is up to date, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. But…standing around 10~20 minutes is such a waste of time to me, especially I'm heading to jog in the cold weather or trail head. I want a GPS that turns on and get a signal and tell me where I am, just like one I have in my car (also made by Garmin…and gets satellite signal within a second!) I think Garmin has a lot to improve on this model, idea and concept is great, but very poorly executed. Not recommended at all.
wasabiman at REI on 10/10/2010

Not an I-Phone App

I expected to track where I had been and to get speed, altitude, etc. data during the trip. I used or attempted to use it hiking, climbing Mt St Helens, and road and mountain biking.

The Garmin manual in the package and the extended manual available at their website just describes the screens and options available; nothing describes performing typical tasks - i.e. initializing the tracking function or zeroing out the trip data so that you have info for just a specific trip or day or leg of a journey. Saving tracks is easy but choosing a start and stop point that corresponds to anything you can identify except by date is difficult/impossible.

The unit records a track anytime it is turned on. I figured out how to zero everything out to start when I started but that is buried on a menu, not a start-up option.

Garmin does not provide software to analyze your track. The .gpx file can be opened with Google Earth and data is available there but it is not nearly as useful as what you get from an IPhone.

With new batteries it stopped recording during a 9.5 hr climb of Mt St Helens. Useless mountain biking in the woods - very few data points recorded.

A friend used his IPhone to flawlessly track a day skiing at Whistler. It was in his pocket except when he was using it as a phone. His music from the phone was on all day. He turned it on and forgot it until the end of the day. A tiny GPS on a chip in a pocket worked much better than my Garmin.
Adventure Jim at REI on 03/03/2012

Unreliable

I bought this to use biking and hiking.

I originally bought the Foretrex 301. Shortly after getting started, the Foretrex 301 would turn on, show the Garmin splash screen and then go no further. I could not even turn it off without taking out the batteries. Garmin support takes up to three business days to get back to you. I do not have that much time. The 301 went back to the store.

I did decide to give Garmin another chance, and the features of the Foretrex 401 seemed good. The Foretrex 401 is basically the same as the 301, with a few more features. So, I bought the 401 to replace the 301. Guess what - the 401 had exactly the same problem as the 301. So, the 401 is going back, too.

It is really too bad, because this looked like it was going to be really helpful and a reasonable value. I have had good experiences with other Garmin products. I have no idea how they messed up on the Foretrex series.
ThomRose at REI on 06/06/2012

Needs backward compability

I bought the 401 from REI to replace my geko 201, and was excited to open the box only to discover that I could not use the *.gpx file with my topo software. Like paleoguy I could not find any answers at garmin's website about what I can do with the .gpx file.

Some of the functions in the 401 such as the jumpmaster function will probably not be used by most users. It would be better if Garmin created a base unit that could download specific software to meet the needs of each user.

As for using the 401 for navigation I had some problems interpreting the map page, and I would have gotten lost following it if I had not known my location. This may have been my inexperience with the unit. I don't know except I returned my unit and I will wait and see if the support for the 401 improves.
sore hamstrings at REI on 09/09/2009

Does not display GPS altitude

I bought this for long (week plus) backpacking and skiing trips. I wanted a barometer for weather trends.

After I bought this, I discovered that the ONLY altitude that it will display is from the barometer. It will NOT display an altitude using the GPS fix. I took it back and got the Garmin 301.

The altitude from a barometer is useless if not calibrated daily, which is not possible on longer trips. We can not get a pressure reading, and often we are on glaciers where the maps and altitudes are no longer correct. Even on shorter, day trips you need to remember to calibrate the unit before heading off.
I called Garmin and they agreed that the unit does not provide an altitude based on the GPS signal.
vicky11111 at REI on 05/05/2011

Neutral Reviews:

Good with room for Improvement

I bought the Foretrex 401 to upgrade my Foretrex 101 on my bicycle. I almost returned it because, unlike my Foretrex 101, the speed readout was useless under tree canopies. This was a big problem in the Pacific NW where we have trees everywhere. However, I decided to keep it because it works great for hiking.

Pros:
* Easy to read display in all lighting conditions. Also, has a large viewing angle.
* Replaceable batteries, so, I don't have to remember to keep it charged.
* Excellent satellite reception - much better than my Foretrex 101. I hike with the 401 in my jacket pocket in areas with dense tree cover and valleys without any satellite reception problems.
* It works like a USB drive when attached to a computer. All the data is contained in a human readable XML file. This has allowed me to easily write my own S/W programs to directly post process the data from my hikes.
* Works with Garmin's MapSource and their free downloadable BaseCamp for displaying and editing tracks, waypoints, and routes. However, this is not documented in the 401's owners manual.

Cons:
* The displayed instantaneous speed works great in open areas. However, under tree canopies, the speed readout is useless because it is inaccurate and has large speed fluctuations for speeds less than 20 MPH. My old Foretrex 101 has much better speed accuracy under tree canopies.
* The displayed total ascent and decent elevations reads half the correct value. Garmin has confirmed this issue 5 months ago and plans to fix it - someday.
* The displayed total ascent and decent elevations also creeps at about 250 feet per hour. This introduces a 250 feet error every hour when hiking on flat sections of trails.
Root Locus at REI on 02/02/2010

poor manual, OK w/paper maps

I use this for hiking, combined with a paper topo map. For that application, it's basically no better or worse than any other GPS, with the sole exception of being extremely lightweight.

The documentation is lousy. It comes with an extremely brief printed manual. There is a longer manual available online as a pdf file, but it's still woefully inadequate for a sophisticated gadget that is used for survival. For example, the documentation tells you how to turn automatic calibration of the altimeter on and off, but doesn't tell you anything about why you might want to turn it on or off, or how the calibration works. For example, I wanted to know how long it would take for the readings to start showing the effect of calibration, but there was no information on that.

It was awkward putting in the batteries without removing the strap. Removing the strap was extremely difficult, because the two Phillips screws were extremely tightly torqued. One of the two screws on my unit was so tight that in order to get it out, I had to press it against a wall so hard that my feet slipped on the floor. If you never intend to use the strap, then you can just cut it off, but if you do want to use a GPS with a strap like this, there is a potential problem with being able to repeatedly get the strap on and off.

I use this unit along with a paper topo map, finding my location using UTM coordinates. I would not recommend this unit to anyone who wants to use it as a mapping GPS, becuse the screen is small, low-resolution, and black and white.
Ben Crowell at REI on 12/12/2010

Great Tool

Use the product as an instructor at a well-known Army course (RLTW) to track student's movements during training quickly and accurately. Sunset and sunrise information is useful. Distance and eta of your waypoint is great as well.

Only downside is that the compass does not keep its calibration at all. Also that it's not a 3 axis compass. However it will give you accurate degrees to your waypoint for use with a lensatic compass. So pairing this with an old school compass and map is a great set for quick navigation.

An etrex 20 with topo maps would be best for route planning on the fly.
HeadehunterSeven at REI on 01/01/2012